Monday, January 21, 2013

My take on: The Books They Gave Me

A book about books for people who love books? Of course I'm going to read that. The Books They Gave Me by Jen Adams is a collection of 200 stories. Every book lover out there, take a look at your collection. I'm sure a lot of your books have a story behind them. A book can remind you of so many things. A happy memory. A sad memory. A good relationship. And...a bad relationship. Sometimes you are forever tied to those memories and to the books.

"In this age of the e-book, part of the appeal of being given a hard copy book as a gift is its tangible timelessness. Books are real. You can give a book as a gift. Kindles are great for reading on the subway, and they get people to read more than they might otherwise, but they are flatly unromantic. Paper books offer a kind of permanent charm. They don't expire; they can't disappear in a power surge. Books last. I'm not with any of those men anymore, but I still have the books they gave me." -- Pg xvii

That's a quote from Jen Adams, and I couldn't agree more. Digital is the wave of the future in just about every industry, and books are no different. I just don't think this generation truly understands the joys of wandering a book store. Half the fun in discovering new books is wandering the shelves of a store. Full disclosure, I do own a Kindle Fire and I buy books online. But the feeling you get scrolling through a screen just isn't the same as browsing a store. Sometimes I go into a store with at least one or two books in mind, but I usually come out with more.

"Still, it's easy to tune out a song you don't particularly care for when you would rather listen to him talk or relish the comfort of his arms. But with books, you pay attention. You're reading words; you're consuming ideas and themes that move him; you're connecting intellectually. Maybe even spiritually." -- Pg. 5

I thought that was such a great quote, that I had to put it in. It's very easy to tune out the everyday white noise. But when you're reading a book, you're in the moment. Maybe the book doesn't move you to bring about social change, but hopefully you're absorbing the words.

"I've gotten gift cards to Borders, Barnes & Noble, local stores, and cash meant for books. But I have never actually gotten a physical book from anyone. I actually like it better that way. I think that letting me make the choice about the book I want is better. I would like to get a book from someone who knows me and knows exactly what I want, but I have yet to encounter that person." -- Pg. 7

Most of the stories in the book are about books given to people. It's been a long time since someone has given me a book as a gift. I don't think that's a bad thing. I usually smile and pretend to like the books I've been given as gifts. And then....those books end up collecting dust on my shelves. Gift cards and cash are the way to go for someone like me. I love my family but I don't think they know what I like to read. They just know that I like to read. Hopefully, one day I find someone who knows what I like to read.

This was a fun one to read. The stories behind the books were all over the place. Some were extremely funny. Imagine you're a book lover and you're in a relationship with a non-reader. It happened several times in this book. Some people just buy any book not realizing every book is not for every person. Some were emotional. Some were sad.  It was a quick and easy read, I just wish there were more stories in the book.

Rating: Superb

Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Simon & Schuster) in exchange for an honest review.

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